USA

Newly declassified documents show that State Department analysts warned the Clinton administration as long ago as 1996 of the potential for Osama bin Laden to expand radical Islam far beyond the Middle East, The New York Times reported. But the administration chose not to act on the warning, the documents say. They were obtained by the advocacy group Judicial Watch under a Freedom of Information Act request. In a separate report, the Times quoted a veteran Army intelligence officer as saying that the his colleagues contacted the FBI repeatedly in 2000 about the existence of a US-based Al Qaeda cell that included 9/11 hijacker Mohamad Atta. But Pentagon lawyers intervened each time to cancel meetings at which the information was to be shared. Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer told the Times he decided to risk his career by discussing the matter publicly. Later, he told CBS's "Early Show" that he thinks the 9/11 commission did not press hard enough for documentation of claims that Atta's cell was operating in the US well before the 2001 terrorist attacks.

A Pakistani national studying at Santa Monica College in California is in police custody as part of an investigation into a terrorist plot against the Israeli consulate and other Los Angeles-area targets, federal officials said. The Los Angeles Times reported that the alleged plot may have been developed by Islamic extremists and gang members at the state's Folsom Prison.

Variants of the virus that shut down computer systems at some of the nation's leading news organizations and major corporations are still being discovered, Microsoft said. The extent of the problem was proving difficult to measure, a spokesman for the software giant said, because the virus travels over Internet connections rather than through e-mail. The virus attacked such companies as The New York Times, CNN, ABC, SBC Communications, and Caterpillar Inc. Tuesday.

A sale of used laptop computers at bargain prices by the county school system in Richmond, Va., turned into a riot Tuesday, with 17 injuries as an estimated 5,500 people competed for the 1,000 units on offer. The Apple iBook units were advertised for $50 each, prompting a line to begin forming at 1:30 a.m. Witnesses reported one customer trying to push his way into line in a moving car and others being beaten with a folding chair.

Inflation at the wholesale level rose 1 percent in July, its most significant jump in nine months, the Labor Department reported.

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